Description:Orla is an Irish name closely associated with the high king Brian Boru, as it was the name of his sister, daughter and niece. It was very popular in the Middle Ages – the fourth most popular name in twelfth century Ireland – and has become popular again in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales today. In Irish, the name is commonly spelled Orlaith or Orlagh.
Description:Serene Irene, the name of the Greek goddess of peace and one of the most familiar Greek goddess names, was hugely popular in ancient Rome and again in the United States a hundred years ago.
Description:Victoria is the Latin word for “victory” and a feminine form of Victor. It is the name of the ancient Roman goddess of victory, the equivalent of the Greek Nike, and also a popular third century saint. Queen Victoria, for whom the Victorian Era is named, ruled over England for over sixty-three years.
Origin:German, feminine variation of Wilhelm
Description:Wilhelmina was long burdened with the Old Dutch cleanser image of thick blond braids and clunky wooden clogs, but that started to be changed somewhat by the dynamic Vanessa Williams character on Ugly Betty, and even further by the choice of Wilhelmina by ace baby namers Natalie and Taylor Hanson. For the less adventurous, Willa is, for now, still a more user-friendly female equivalent of William.
Origin:French and English, feminine variation of Louis
Description:Louise has for several decades now been seen as competent, studious, and efficient—desirable if not dramatic qualities. But now along with a raft of other L names, as well as cousin Eloise, Louise is up for reappreciation—sleek and chic, stylish in Paris, and starting to become so in the US as well. Louisa is perhaps more in tune with the times, but Louise has more edge. Louise has been on the rise lately, and reentered the US Top 1000 for the first time in a quarter century in 2016.
Description:Sarah was derived from the Hebrew word sarah, meaning “princess.” Sarah is an Old Testament name—she was the wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac. According to the Book of Genesis, Sarah was originally called Sarai, but had her name changed by God to the more auspicious Sarah when she was ninety years old.
Origin:Italian feminine variation of Gabriel
Meaning:"God is my strength"
Description:Gabriella is the feminine form of Gabriel, a name derived from the Hebrew Gavri’el. Gavri’el is composed of the elements gever, meaning "strong," and ’el, referring to God. Gabriella is used among a variety of cultures in the US, including Italian Americans, Latinos, and in the Jewish community. Gabriela is the Spanish spelling.
Description:Sara, the streamlined form of Sarah, makes this ancient name feel more modern, but perhaps a bit lighter weight. Some Old Testament sources give Sara as a variation of Sarai, the Biblical personage's original name, and some give it as the authentic form of the new name of Isaac's 90-year-old mother. But most sources authenticate Sarah as the Biblical classic and Sara as the variation.
Description:Leila was popularized in the West by the poet Byron, who used it in his poem Don Juan for a ten-year-old Turkish girl. Leila also appears as a fairy in the Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera Iolanthe.
Origin:Diminutive of Sarah
Description:Sally is a cheerful, fresh-faced girl-next-door name that was originally a nickname for Sarah, but has long been used independently. Sally was popular in the eighteenth century and then again from the 1920s to the 1960s--it was just outside the Top 50 around 1940. Though it hasn't been heard as a baby name for decades, we can see Sally bouncing back, especially after her exposure as young Ms. Draper on Mad Men--the Nameberries rank it at Number 621, and it's a Top 100 name in Sweden.
Origin:Variation of Johanna
Meaning:"God is gracious"
Description:Joanna derives from the Greek name Ioanna, which in turn came from the Hebrew name Yohannah. It is featured in the New Testament as a woman who accompanied Jesus on his travels and eventually reached saint status. Other names related to Joanna include Joan, Joanne, Johanna, and Jana.
Origin:French variation of Mary
Meaning:"drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
Description:The ubiquitous French version of Mary came into the English-speaking world in the nineteenth century. In the United States, Marie was a huge hit at the turn of the last century and for the ensuing fifty years, becoming the seventh most popular name in the country for three years, from 1901 to 1904.
Origin:Feminine variation of Henry
Description:Despite a return to such feminizations of male names as Josephine, Clementine, and Theodora, starchy Henrietta has not made it into that group. Still, if you look hard enough, you'll see that Henrietta has the same vintage charm.
Origin:Italian, Polish, Russian diminutive of Angela
Meaning:"angel or angelic"
Description:Angelica is by far the choicest form of the angelic names -- more delicate than Angelina, more feminine than Angel, more modern than Angela. But though Angelica is so lacy and poetic, it lags behind the bolder Angelina (probably for obvious reasons).
Description:This shimmery name, often given to girls born on the harvest feast of Shavuot, and also used in the Muslim community, is increasing in popularity. Amira is of Hebrew and Arabic origin, meaning "princess", and fits in well with a variety of trending names like Amara, Amaya, and Mira. Amira is in the Top 100 in several countries, including Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, and Hungary. In the US, Amira entered the Top 1000 in 1998 and has been rising since, now in the Top 250. Overall Amira is a gorgeous multicultural choice.
Origin:Hebrew, Arabic, Iranian
Meaning:"drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
Description:As Mary falls further out of favor, her variations become more appealing, whether you're honoring an ancestral Mary or Marie or Miriam or simply love the tradition of the name.
Origin:Latin, feminine variation of Adrian
Meaning:"man from Adria"
Description:A long-integrated French feminine form of Adrian, now overshadowed by the a-ending version, but still a valid option, with considerable substance and dignity—though these days more parents would probably choose Adriana.
Origin:Spanish variation of Carmel
Description:Carmen has long been associated with the sensuous, tragic heroine of Bizet's opera, based on a novel by Prosper Merimee; more recently it has called to mind two other bombshells: Carmen Miranda (born Maria) and Carmen Electra (born Tara), as well as the great jazz singer Carmen McRae. In the celebrity baby name world, this classic Spanish name for girls was used by Hilaria and Alec Baldwin for their daughter.
Description:Virginia is a lovely place name starting with the fashionable V and having deep historical roots, yet, unlike some other other girls' classics, has been sorely neglected in recent years.
Meaning:"youthful or sky father"
Description:Long common in Europe, the elegant and regal Juliana, also spelled with two n's, has invaded these shores, in tandem with the more classic Julia. Together with Julian, the name derives from Julius, a Roman family name. Its origin is shrouded in history, but possible roots include Latin iuvenis, meaning "youthfu"; Greek ioulos, meaning "downy-bearded"; or Jovis, a form of Jupiter, which means "sky father".